A tiny margin separates the two candidates in Nevada’s pivotal Senate race, and a GOP strategist told CNN the mood inside Republican Adam Laxalt’s campaign is “awful.”
Different factions of the Republican’s operation have begun the internal blame game, feeling it is a forgone conclusion that Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will take the lead soon, the strategist said. When asked by CNN to describe the current mood, the strategist said, “shocked and depressed.”
Publicly, Laxalt laid out what he described as a “narrowed” path to victory in a pair of tweets Saturday.
As of Friday evening, Laxalt had a lead of only 862 votes over Cortez Masto. An early lead for the Republican eroded further Friday as election workers counted and released the results of more ballots.
“Multiple days in a row, the mostly mail in ballots counted continue to break in higher DEM margins than we calculated,” Laxalt wrote. “This has narrowed our victory window.”
In Clark County, Nevada’s largest, CNN estimates there are roughly 24,000 more mail-in ballots to be counted, along with about 15,000 provisional ballots and ballots that need to be cured.
Laxalt said the race will come down to those ballots, saying that “if they continue to trend heavy DEM then (Cortez Masto) will overtake us.”
If they come from GOP-leaning precincts or from only slightly Democrat-leaning areas, “then we can still win,” Laxalt claimed.
For its part, Cortez Masto’s campaign told CNN the team remains “confident” as it awaits further results.
Laxalt campaign responds: Brian Freimuth, Laxalt’s press secretary, responded to CNN’s reporting later Saturday, saying: “Our campaign team remains confident and hopeful, and any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate and poorly-sourced.”
Why it matters: The Nevada Senate race has been deadlocked for months, and it could ultimately determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.
With CNN projecting Sen. Mark Kelly to win his race in Arizona, Democrats need to win one more seat: Nevada or Georgia, which is headed to a December runoff.
Republicans need 51 seats for majority control. Democrats would have control in a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.
View Laxalt’s tweets below: